May 19, 2006
|GET BUZZFLASH ALERTS||STEVEN JONAS ARCHIVES|
Democratic Ideas, II: On Immigration
by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH
This week George Bush and his allies in the Congress and on the Privatized Ministry of Propaganda (headed by the Fox "News" Channel) are making an extra big push for the passage of an "immigration" bill. In his speech earlier in the week, Bush offered something to each of his major support groups. To his hard-right core he offered a "tough" policy at the border, assigning National Guardsmen with no training in border patrol and control to back up the clearly undermanned official Border Patrol. To his let's-employ-undocumented-workers- at-the-lowest-possible-cost corporate base he offered continued access to undocumented workers already here. To his military-industrial complex base he offered the prospect of constructing a high-tech "virtual fence" along significant portions of the (Mexican, not the totally open Canadian) border. To his Latino base (44% in the last Presidential election) he offered a path to citizenship for undocumented workers already here, otherwise known as "amnesty" (although the devils will be found in the details, if indeed it is ever enacted).
What Bush did not address in any way was the causes of the continued movement of undocumented Mexican and Central American workers across the Southern border of the US. But then Georgite Republicans rarely if ever address the cause of problems for which they offer programs. This is the principal reason why their programs so often are extremely ineffective in dealing with problem as they define it (viz. the "anti-terrorism" War on Iraq, the Medicare "drug" program, Social Security privatization if they could get it) and extremely expensive while being extremely profitable to certain corporate interests.
The primary cause of the continued influx of undocumented workers from south of the border are the polices of the major US and Mexican employers. US employers just love having them because of the low wages, with no benefits, they can pay them. The reason that so many Mexicans want to come here is that Mexican employers pay very low wages themselves, so low that many employed persons (the majority of those seeking to reach the US) simply cannot make ends meet with Mexican wages.
Addressing causes of the problem, then, not the political and economic
interests of one's principal supporters, leads one to recommend the following
program (presented here only in outline form):
4. A significant increase in trained US Border Patrol personnel. The
prohibition of vigilante private border patrol organizations which can
only complicate an already complicated situation.
8. Repeal of NAFTA, the original cause of the massiveness of the problem now presenting itself.
9. Replacement of the Bush Administration, which could not possibly
administer such a complex program.
Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) a weekly Contributing Author for The Political Junkies (www.thepoliticaljunkies.net) and a Columnist for BuzzFlash.